Creation Before Creation: On Prophesy and Poetry
Last week, I received a letter from a dear friend. He is an orthodox, practicing[i] Jew. It ends with the line ‘Looking forward to seeing you in Jerusalem with Moshiach, very soon!’
Anyone who has been around religious Jews, especially Hassidic teachers, will have heard similar expressions.[ii] And similar words are part of the Jewish daily prayers.[iii] All these statements mention two aspects. Firstly, that there will be a redemption or renewal that is associated with Moshiach, and secondly, that this should occur soon, speedily or ‘in our days’.
So who is Moshiach? And given the already lengthy delay[iv], why is the hope or request for his arrival always followed with ‘speedily’ and ‘in our days’? And how is this relevant to the essential experience of Rosh Hashonah?
- On the Anointed One, Messiah, Moshiach.
Moshiach means the Messiah, the anointed one, chosen by God, the redeemer from suffering and confusion, the bringer of peace to the world; and when this occurs, the whole world will know God directly.[v]
The matter of Moshiach in the Jewish narrative is complex. The belief in the Messiah, the longing and expectations and well-being that are associated with the arrival of Moshiach’ are all nowadays accepted as intrinsic to Jewish religious belief and practices. These ideas feature prominently in the daily prayers offered all over the Jewish world. [vi]
This was not always so. Until the 12th century, there was virtually no mention of a Messiah, outside of some Talmudic and Kabbalistic references, and certainly no obligation to believe in a Moshiach. That all changed when the Rambam (as Maimonides is known in Jewish studies) published his famous “13 articles of Faith” for Jews[vii]. There is no prescribed or universally agreed on ‘articles of faith’ in Judaism[viii]. Some prominent rabbis disagreed with the Rambam and others made their own lists.
Nevertheless, it was the Rambam’s list that received the attention of Jews.[ix] Since that time, these Articles have entered into the mainstream of Jewish belief. Along with the directives to believe in God, and to not serve idols, whose inclusion is not surprising since these are parts of the 10 commandments, is the declaration of belief in Moshiach. The 12th article of the Rambam’s text states: “I believe with perfect faith in the coming of the Messiah, and though he may tarry, still I await him every day.”
This is a surprise, since this is not part of any commandment in the Torah, and Moshiach himself is not even mentioned anywhere in the Torah, except by allusion. Then the Rambam goes further and says that any Jew who does not accept and practice all the 13 principles is a disbeliever and should be excommunicated from the community of Israel, [x] just the same as if one desecrated the Sabbath, or took God’s name in vain. The dogma of this view has been much debated by Jewish scholars.[xi]
The references that are in the Torah are indirect and have various meanings. Moses prophesied[xii] ‘there will come a time when they will repent and return to Israel’; the gentile prophet Balaam prophesied ‘a star.. a staff shall rise.. a ruler shall come out of Jacob’[xiii] and Jacob tells his sons about ‘the end of days’ when ‘shiloh comes and there will be a gathering of the people’. [xiv] That’s pretty much it. Later on in history, in the subsequent writings of the Tanach (the collection of all the books of the Hebrew Bible), the prophets Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Amos, Joel and Hosea do mention Moshiach or refer to a redeemer and the redemption of the Messianic era.
There is nothing untoward in these non-explicit allusions and references.[xv] It’s the usual way that much of Torah is taught and explicated. Laws of Kosher, marriage, priestly service, rituals and legal matters are also taught from a hint or mention in the written Torah, that is later explicated by the oral Torah. All these and other intimations are how the references to Moshiach and the ‘days to come’ are also envisioned.
What is unusual, is the one thing that all these clues on Moshiach have in common. All the references and allusions to Moshiach are spoken by prophets or seen in visions.
These God-granted visions are the source of all sacred revelation and the foundation of all religious tradition, everywhere in the world. The connection between poets, visionaries and prophets is found in every culture and is well documented,[xvi] and the congruity of these experiences has been described as similar in every prophetic, poetic and mystic tradition in the world.
The best definition of prophesy for the purposes of this paper would be those offered by the same scholar who wrote the ‘Thirteen Principles of Faith’ and who states that belief in Moshiach is fundamental to Jewish belief. Before looking at what the Rambam says about prophesy, it should be noted that article 6 of those same Principles of Faith states, ‘The belief that God communicates with man through prophesy.’ So the Rambam is already offering a possible connection of prophesy, in article 6, with the belief in Moshiach, in article 12.
In his ‘Guide to the Perplexed’, Maimonides explains: ‘Prophesy is, in truth and reality, an emanation sent forth by the Divine Being.. to (a person’s) imaginative faculty.. it consists in the most perfect development of the imaginative faculty’.[xvii] The Rambam says quite plainly that prophesy is God working through the imagination of a certain type of person. Then he describes the preconditions necessary to receive prophesy, and then only if God grants this.
The Rambam makes it clear that he is not talking about the imaginary, which is something ‘made up’. He is describing an entirely different sort of imagination that is God-inspired and that cannot be contrived or forced by will.[xviii] This is not creative problem solving and charismatic mind games.
The distinction between the imaginary and the imaginal, between made-up fantasies and God-inspired insights, is well attested to in all traditions.[xix] The renowned Islamic scholar, Henry Corbin, refers to this numinous world as the ‘Mundus Imaginalis’,[xx] a realm of experience that is an absolutely real, but not in the usual sense of the senses.[xxi] This experience of consciousness, where God and man ‘meet’ as it were, can be attained only though Divine grace but it can be prepared for by service and devotions. The archetypal psychologist James Hillman reminds us that ‘only devoted attention can turn fantasy into imagination’. [xxii]
Moshiach’s arrival, and everything associated with the Messianic time, is known via prophecy and anticipated by visionary images delivered by God. Our access to Moshiach is via the imaginal. This is a type of experience where our habituated and functional frames of reference are set to one side, a spirit or inner vitality enters, or an soul sense in us opens up, and God communicates with us.
Our experience might then be put into words, and spoken, sung, chanted or written down, It might be danced or painted. In these ways, it can manifest into the world as the outward expression of an inner perception. Others can witness or hear it spoken or read it. These experiences of the soul cannot be reduced to the literal mind, or ‘proven’ scientifically. The soul has its own language of knowledge and truth. [xxiii] And access into these realms is though the Imagination.
- On Rosh Hashanah, Repentance and Return.
The singular call and principle activity of the High Holy Days[xxiv] is ‘T’shuva’, repentance and atonement. The process of our acknowledgment and confession to God for our failings leads to God’s forgiveness and atonement.
The word T’shuva, usually translated as repentance, properly means ‘return’. One cannot return to a place where one was not previously. So, repentance actually means returning to some place where we were before and where we would like to be again. Playing on the words in English, we are striving for an ‘at-one-ment’ with God. This place is where we are ‘at one’ with our Creator.
Not every penitent is thinking about the mystical desire for union with God. For most people, the simple desire on Rosh Hashanah is for a ‘clean balance sheet’. We would like all our wrong doings over the past year to be erased and the spiritual and physical implications (the ‘karma’) of these actions to be annulled. We desire to return and be restored to the ‘original’ human condition as it was at the beginning of creation, before there was any ‘first sin’. ‘In the beginning’, right at the start of creation, we spoke with God and everything was all OK. Then things went down and now we mostly do not speak much with God. Sin, chait, indicates a state of being ‘cut off’ or ‘missing the target’, separated from God.[xxv] In the end, the major portion of sin is behaving unconsciously, not being mindful, which is the same as forgetting God. And so redemption means remembering and reuniting with God. Returning.
On the Link between Moshiach and T’shuva.
The Talmud informs us[xxvi] that seven ‘things’ or phenomena were ‘created before creation’. One of these is ‘T’shuva’. Another one is‘the name of Moshiach’.[xxvii] The very possibility of T’shuva, that one is able to change one’s state of being from from cut-off to close-up, to actually change one’s karma and the sticky implications of the ‘tikkunim’ required[xxviii] come from a type of reality that exists before creation. Moshiach is also from this ‘place’. T’shuva is on the same level and order of being as the revelation of Moshiach. What applies to the one would also apply to the other.[xxix]
Although these images, or phenomena, ‘exist’, they are not of this world. Rather, they exist on another order of reality, something called ‘created before creation’. Nevertheless, somehow they are accessible to us who live on and in this world. T’shuvah is possible. Moshiach is possible. They are both part of a very elite group of phenomena that paradoxically exist in eternity, (or however we describe something that exists beyond time and space) and yet are able, somehow, to be experienced by us in this world and to connect us with something that is quite unfathomable. ‘Created before creation’ is not an ordinarily graspable rational concept.
Our access to this world, this realm of ‘creation before creation’ is via our faith, the activity of that particular function of the soul that allows us to experience the imaginal. We get there by our Imagination. As qualified before, we are not talking about something made up or imaginary, but rather a perspective that, if we apply ourselves and are fortunate, opens us to another mode of perception.
Imagination gets us there. How do we get what we experience ‘there’, through to ‘here’? The key to manifesting the eternal worlds into time and space is that we ‘say’, ‘tell’, ‘cry out’ or ‘name’ an image. The way prophets do it, and the way the baal ha-shir does[xxx], even if we are not on their level. What we ‘say’ is revealed into this world.
‘The name of Moshiach’ in the world of creation-before-creation is the very process of the coming-into-being of Moshiach on this plane of physical existence. After the initial ‘in the beginning’ of creation, the rest of the appearance of ‘physical’ existence is made manifest by a process called “And God said..” In Eden, Adam ‘names’ the animals and they come into existence. [xxxi]
In this way, through the process of ‘saying’ or ‘telling’, everything in our world appears as an independent existence. Both senses of ‘appears’ are relevant. On the one hand, it is manifest and makes its appearance as a separate and substantial existence. On the other hand, this is an illusion, it only seems to be a separate and substantial existence, and it is actually intrinsically bound with and part of God’s creative essence.
This way of understanding the creative force that inheres in everything manifest in time and space, implies the poetic image that the universe is dependent on God’s continuous ‘saying’ of creation over and over, every second. It is as if God ‘breathes’ existence in fullness, and if God stopped breathing, existence would deflate and dissapear. Without the unfathomable inner vitality and essence to sustain it, the emptiness around which existence finds its shape, manifest creation would instantly dissolve back into the formlessness and the void, ‘tohu v’vohu’, that is its source.[xxxii]
So it is now easier to understand prophesy (and sacred poetry). And we also have a clue to the question of why ‘speedily’ and ‘in our days’ is added to the expression of desire for the arrival of Moshiach.
- On ‘Creation before Creation’ and the Imaginal.
If something is ‘created before creation’, then is must exist in a non-literal way, on a non- physical plane of existence. It exists prior to our constructs and perception of space and time. However, we are taught to expect forgiveness and redemption and atonement from that ‘place’ down to here and now, ‘this level’ of bodies and minds and souls.
So our ‘this plane of experience’ consciousness, will need to access ‘eternity’ as it is, before the limits and illusions of differentiated existence.[xxxiii] To accomplish this, we will need to use the same methods that apply to enter the realms of prophesy, and return to the imaginal worlds where we and God are ‘at-one’.
The imaginal worlds are entirely real, as the visionaries, poets and prophets have testified. [xxxiv] We each have the capacity to enter and engage in this imaginal world, every person and to a differing degree, some a greater talent and some less[xxxv]. Not everyone can be a prophet but everyone dreams and everyone can pray, in their own way. This is engaging with the imagination.
This capacity is a quality of our personal soul. It is true that this potential has to be applied and worked on and devoted to, for it to have any chance of success.[xxxvi] And even with the best will in the world, there is no guarantee that the ‘soul’s latent capacity’ will just open up. And if it does, there is no knowing by how much.[xxxvii]
But one thing is sure. Without application and effort, nothing will happen.[xxxviii] And it is only by opening to the imaginal faculty in ourselves, the ‘authentic imagination’, that we are able to access these worlds and experience them as the reality that they actually are. This is the means whereby we engage with and enter into a relationship and dialogue with God.
And this is why we ‘say’ our prayers. Prophets and oracles and poets and even dream-tellers also ‘speak’ and chant and sing and name their experiences as their truth.[xxxix] That is why we make confession out loud, as part of out T’shuva. That is why we say every day that we want Moshiach. This is the bridge between the ‘created before creation’ imaginal modes of perception and how those images ‘becomes real’ and pitch up in our world.[xl] This is how infinity and eternity meet with the finite and the created.
The Purpose of Creation.
We are taught that the ultimate purpose of creation is to experience and to know God,[xli] and that ‘God should have a dwelling place in the lowest of all worlds.’[xlii] That infinity should manifest itself in finiteness,[xliii] which is the same as the Messianic belief that ‘The whole world will know God’.[xliv] “The coming of Mashiach is not only a reward but a fulfillment[xlv] of the purpose of creation.[xlvi]
The existential restlessness that many people experience at times is the sense that, without at least some significant God-time, our lives and the world is just not enough.[xlvii] Our faith may have led us to these insights initially, but now our trust sustains us. We live, most of us, small and insignificant lives, yet with the pulse of the eternal in our veins. Belief opens us to living in the imaginal. Meaning is what sustains us. And continue living in this world, but now also in the imaginal world, simultaneously.
This endless longing is what Moshiach represents, and actually is. We want to know God, here and now and immediately. Not as some abstract concept or sentence in a book or in this paper. We want embodied knowledge of God, certain within us. For this we need to be passionate.[xlviii] That is why we hold the image of Moshiach close and keep it near, and strive to attain that awareness speedily, in our days. And similarly on Rosh Hashanah, we want our T’shuva, which has its source ‘there’ to be made real ‘here’, now and embodied. To accomplish this, we need to be similarly passionate about out T’shuva.
And the means to attain this imaginal reality is our longing. Pothos, that love which is the eternal longing of the soul for God. This longing can never be met by the physical world alone. To live in this world and at the same time to be joined with eternity, we are required to live into the imaginal reality, the place of ‘creation before creation, where both T’shuvah and the name of Moshiach are held for us in constant remembrance for all eternity. [xlix] This is how we ‘do T’shuva’ and return to God.
The ‘longing’ for Moshiach is the natural desire to leave our limited ego perspectives and move out into the ‘prophetic’ imaginal realm, where we can be close to God. And at the same instant, we want God ‘in our days’, in our body, while we are in this world. We want to be with God. And we want God to be with us. Both.
We discover, when we live into the imaginal, that here is no duality. There is no ‘there’ and ‘here’. That is our illusion. It is all God. It couldn’t be anything else. We come to realise that ‘creation before creation’ is already ‘at one’ with the creation of this world. It is the display of God, a prayer-field of infinite Being.
And here is the song that these two strings produce on God’s lyre.[l]
Moshiach is not supposed to arrive. Because on the highest level, he is already here.
And what keeps him here eternally is our longing for him to arrive.
And us saying it.
May we all be blessed with a shanah tova u’mesuka.
And may we all merit to see Moshiach speedily in our days.
[i] “Practice is not a process that takes you to enlightenment. It’s enlightenment itself.” John Loori, ‘Cave of Tigers’ p138
[ii] The expression takes many forms and either mentions Moshiach or the consequences of his arrival, in future days “and may we all merit to see the redemption speedily in our days” or ‘May the Holy Temple be rebuilt speedily in our days” or “May we also merit the coming of Messiah speedily in our days” or similar.
[iii] In the Amidah, the heart and core of the Jewish daily prayers recited at least three times every day, is the following prayer : “Return in mercy to Jerusalem Your city and dwell therein as You have promised; speedily establish therein the throne of David Your servant, and rebuild it, soon in our days, as an everlasting edifice. Blesed are you, haShem, who rebuilds Jerusalem. Speedily cause the scion of David Your servant to flourish, and increase his power by Your salvation, for we hope for Your salvation all day. Blessed are you, haShem, who causes the power of salvation to flourish.” Notice again the mention of ‘speedily’ and ‘soon in our days’.
[iv] At least 2500 years since the Biblical Prophets, and over 3000 year since Moses. It hardly appears to explain the sense of urgency that accompanies every exhortation.
[v] “Moshiach is the Hebrew word for ‘messiah.’ The word messiah in English means a savior or a “hoped-for deliverer.” The word moshiach in Hebrew actually means “anointed.”
In Biblical Hebrew, the title moshiach was bestowed on somebody who had attained a position of nobility and greatness. For example, the high priest is referred to as the kohen ha-moshiach.In Talmudic literature the title Moshiach, or Melech HaMoshiach (the King Messiah), is reserved for the Jewish leader who will redeem Israel in the End of Days.”
[vi] It is the custom in many congregations to recite the Thirteen Articles every day after morning prayers.
The 12th point is: “I believe with perfect faith in the coming of the Moshiach, and though he may delay, I wait daily for his coming.”
[vii] The Thirteen Principles of Jewish Faith:
The more poetic form that is used in the daily liturgy in many communities can be found here:
[viii] “There is no established formulation of principles of faith that are recognized by all of Judaism. Central authority in Judaism is not vested in any one person or group but rather in Judaism’s sacred writings, laws and traditions The various principles of faith that have been enumerated over the centuries carry no weight other than that imparted to them by the fame and scholarship of their respective authors.”
[x] “In a postscript Maimonides distinguishes between the “sinners of Israel” who, while having yielded to their passions, are not thereby excluded from the Jewish community or the world to come, and one who “has denied a root principle” (one of these 13 principles). Such an individual has excluded himself from the community and is called a heretic”
[xi] The debate has gone on for 800 years. This is the view of one young scholar and directs to further sources: https://www.academia.edu/11429927/The_impact_of_Maimonides_13_Principles_of_faith
[xv] Not everyone sees this the same way. “Modern scholars suggest that the messianic concept was introduced later in the history of Judaism, during the age of the prophets. They note that the messianic concept is not explicitly mentioned anywhere in the Torah (the first five books of the Bible).
However, traditional Judaism maintains that the messianic idea has always been a part of Judaism. The mashiach is not mentioned explicitly in the Torah, because the Torah was written in terms that all people could understand, and the abstract concept of a distant, spiritual, future reward was beyond the comprehension of some people. However, the Torah contains several references to “the End of Days” (acharit ha-yamim), which is the time of the mashiach; thus, the concept of mashiach was known in the most ancient times.”
[xvi] For example: “In the history and prehistory of human societies, poets, prophets, and seers (the word vates can cover all three) have often been virtually indistinguishable from one another. From time immemorial, their respective activities overlap and interpenetrate to such an extent that prophets (or mantics or seers) and poets have been closely associated and tend to completely coalesce in many of their functions and modalities.
The Sanskrit word kavi (like its Latin cognate vates) embraces both. A certain strand of ideology running through the Bible (at least as interpreted by classical rabbinic texts) aims to drive a wedge between God-inspired prophecy and humanly created poems. Nevertheless, the Hebrew word nabi for “prophet” means “bubbling forth, as from a fountain,” so the vocabulary of the Hebrew Bible, too, is naturally apt to suggest the creative fecundity of verbal imagination. In fact, Amos, Isaiah, Elisha, and Ezekiel frequently produce parables, proverbs, and even love songs.”
The Celtic Druidic tradition and Greek Oracles are other examples where the confluence of visionary poetry and religious insight are accepted as God-inspired.
[xviii] Balaam tells Balak that if he is to prophesy, he cannot make stuff up. “I could not of my own accord do anything good or bad contrary to the Lord’s command. What the Lord says, that I must say”.
[xix] Although not quite everywhere. In the tradition of Western Magick, the adept has assumed the role of the creator. ‘Do what thou whilst’ replaces ‘Thy will be done’, and the disastrous results of an untransformed ego are all too obvious. This, despite muddled and vacuous attempts to explain how True Will aligns the individual with the Law of Nature, and so the stuff you want is actually what the world wants you to have. It is the original version of another godless ego-project ‘The Secret’.
[xx]“The 20th century scholar and mystic, Henry Corbin, named this inner realm the ‘mundus imaginalis’ or world of images. He describes this as “a truly real though subtle landscape located in a third domain that is neither precisely spirit or matter, but lies somewhere in between the purely intellectual world of angelic intelligences and the sensible world of material things and participates in both”. He found this world was spatially within a person’s body and also a distinct region of the cosmos.”
[xxi] Corbin’s own text is here:
[xxii] “Imagination and its development is paerhaps a religious problem, because imagination becomes real only through belief. Ass theology tells us, belief is an act of faith, or it is faith itself as a primary investement of energy in something that makes that something real. Inner life is pale and ephemeral (just as is the outer wordloin depressed states )when the ego does not turn to it, believe in it and endow it witrh reality. This investment, this commitment to inner life, increases its importance and gives it substance.. Only devotedly faithful attention can turn fantasy into imagination.” James Hillman, Insearch p118.
[xxiii] The images or words that express the experiences of the soul are not critiqued as literature, it is not ‘clever thinking’, usually not logical and rarely unambiguous. Speaking of the soul’s experiences of eternal consciousness, Hillman says “Searching for proof or demonstration.. is muddled thinking, because proof and demonstration are categories of science and logic, The mind uses these categories and the mind is convinced by proof, That is why mind can be replaced by machine and soul not. Soul is not mind and has other categories for dealing with the problem of immortality. For the soul, the equivalents of proof and demonstration are belief and meaning.” James Hillman Suicide and the Soul p66
[xxiv] The ‘Yamim Noraim’, ‘Days of Awe’, are Rosh Hashanah, literally ‘the Head of the Year’, Yom Kippur, normally translated as the Day of Atonement and the days in between. It also includes the time of repentance and daily confessions for the entire month of Elul that precedes Rosh Hashanah.
[xxv] The usual Hebrew word for sin, chatah, has as its root the ideas of been ‘cut off’ or separated from our own life source, that is, alienated from God. There are different categories of sin, and different types of confession, making amends and atonement. But in the end, it always involves returning to an awareness of presence of the Living God. A more layered look sin and repentance is here:
A lighter take on the word ‘sin’, by Osho, is here:
[xxvii] “Seven phenomena were created before the world was created, and they are: Torah, and repentance, the Garden of Eden, and Gehenna, the Throne of Glory, and the Temple, and the name of the Messiah.”
[xxviii] Tikun (“rectification”)
- A tikunis a state of perfection and order.
- “The world of Tikun,”(olam hatikkun, “the world of rectified order”) is the world that first manifests this state , which is synonymous with the world of Atzilut.
- Tikun is the spiritual process of liberating and retrieving the fragments of Divine light trapped within the material realm, unconscious of G-d’s presence, thereby restoring the world to its initially intended state of perfection. This is accomplished through the performance of mitzvot.
- Tikunis a remedy prescribed against the effects of committing a sin.
[xxix] Ontologically and phenomenologically. Naturally, each of the seven ‘consciousnesses’ created before creation are different, which is why they are individually named. The Rainbow is another one of the seven ‘creations before creation’. This points to the idea that God reveals Himself by means of colour, for example. Colour is not something that essential to T’shuva. But all the phenomena in the realm of ‘created before creation’ share qualities of ‘non-ordinary-ness’. And all are accessible only by ‘non-ordinary’ means.
[xxx] Baal ha-shir means the ‘Master of Song’, one of mant names applied to King David, the psalmist. “Not all the Psalms were composed by king David. Some were composed by Adam, Shem, Abraham, Moses and others. King David collected them all and added the psalms of his own which he had composed by Divine inspiration.”
[xxxi] Gen 2:19: “And the LORD God formed out of the earth all the wild beasts and all the birds of the sky, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that would be its name.” God has already created the animals. Then Adam ‘calls’ them into being and enduring on this physical plane.
[xxxii] Gen1:2 ‘The earth being unformed and void, with darkness over the surface of the deep and a wind from God sweeping over the water’ Just before the processes of manifest creation begin.
[xxxiii] The oft quoted ‘saying from then talmud’ that “we do not see the world as it is, but rather as we are’ is actually an adaptation of a sentence in a discussion in the Talmud on dreams, visions and the imaginal.
“Rabbi Shmuel bar Naḥmani said Rabbi Yonatan said: A person is only is shown the thoughts of his heart.” https://www.sefaria.org/Berakhot.55b.21?lang=en&with=all&lang2=en
“So the picture of the world in the most sophisticated physics of today is not formed stuff–potted clay–but pattern. A self-moving, self-designing pattern. A dance.”Alan Watts is insightful and funny, Funny counts for a lot in the wisdom stakes: https://genius.com/Alan-watts-the-nature-of-consciousness-annotated
[xxxiv] “A concealment of G-d’s true essence is called a ‘world’. This is reflected in Hebrew where the world ‘world’ (olam ) shares at word-root with ‘concealment’ (he’elem)” http://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/2312382/jewish/Chapter-2-The-Purpose-of-Creation.htm#footnote1a2312382
[xxxv] “God bestows prophecy upon the sons of men. But prophecy does not descend save upon a wise man.. Prophets are of various degrees” Maimonides Mishna Torah Book1, Part1, ch7.
[xxxvi] “All the prophets do not prophesy every time they may desire, but they must prepare their minds, rest in a state of exultation and hearty contentment, and in undisturbed solitude; for, prophecy does not rest upon any prophet either when he is in a state of melancholy or in a state of indolence, but when he is in a state of delightfulness.” ibid 7:4
[xxxvii] “They that seek the spirit of prophecy are called disciples of the prophets, and, although they train their minds well, it is uncertain whether the Shekinah will rest upon them or whether it will not.” ibid 7:5
[xxxviii] The old adage applies: “You might not succeed in everything you undertake. But you will fail 100% of the things you never try.”
[xxxix] “Say prayers (and blessings) out loud, but not overly loud, in order to help you to concentrate on what you are saying. The main exception is the amida prayer, which is said quietly enough that you can hear yourself but that people near you cannot hear what you are saying.”
[xl] “Speech is a unique human characteristic. When you want to translate something from a spiritual thought into a physical reality, speech is the method.. This has practical application in synagogue life. During the silent “Amidah” prayer, people’s lips are moving, though their voices are muted. And on Yom Kippur, the “Viduy” confession is said loud enough to hear yourself.”
[xli] In Judaism. And this imminent and manifest experience of union with the divine is also the expressly stated goal of every mystic teaching and path, using its own words and imagery.
For instance: “Verily, not for the sake of the husband, my dear, is the husband loved, but he is loved for the sake of the soul which, in its true nature, is one with the Supreme Self… Verily, not for the sake of the worlds, my dear, are the worlds loved, but they are loved for the sake of the soul.” Brihadaranyaka Upanishad http://www.consciouslivingfoundation.org/ebooks/13/CLF-brihadaranyaka_upanishad.pdf ii:4:5
[xlii] “The purpose for which this world was created is that the Holy One, blessed be He, desired to have an abode in the lower worlds.” Likkutei Amarim ch. 36, paraphrasing Midrash Tanchuma, Parshas Naso, sec. 16. http://www.chabad.org/library/tanya/tanya_cdo/aid/7915/jewish/Chapter-36.htm
[xliii] The power to procreate is the manifestation of infinity within the finite context of the created human being.
“Before He gave any shape to the world, before He produced any form, He was alone, without form and without resemblance to anything else. But after He created the form of the Heavenly Man, He used him as a chariot wherein to descend, and He wishes to be called after His form, which is the sacred name YHWH”. The Zohar
[xliv] “.. when the time arrives for the glory of G-d to be revealed through the coming of our righteous Mashiach, there will surely be leaders of Israel.. who will urge the masses of Israel to strengthen the faith and to return with teshuvah, and to arouse the people to prepare themselves with teshuvah and good deeds for the coming of Mashiach.”
[xlv] The coming of Moshiach will complete God’s purpose in creation: for man to make an dwelling place for God in the lower worlds, that is, reveal the inherent spirituality in the material world.
[xlvi] “At that point, the Divine Presence will again be revealed in the world. Without this revelation, Judaism is incomplete… Waiting and yearning for Mashiach is therefore a natural feeling for a Jew. Believing and waiting for him to come is a fundamental principle of the faith. For the coming of Mashiach is not only a reward but a fulfillment of the purpose of creation.”
[xlvii] “The aspect of “yearning for his coming,” which, in Halachah, is an emotional feeling and not just an intellectual awareness, stems from a Jew’s deep-seated feeling that he cannot attain completion without the coming of Moshiach. As such, he expresses a constant hope for Moshiach’s arrival, realizing that without this he is incomplete.”
[xlviii] To attain our desire requires effort and devotion. We need to be passionate about wanting God, if we are to find the energy to apply ourselves. Passion is from the root pothos and that is also the root of the word pathology. We always suffer where we are passionate and we suffer in our desire for God. It should make us feel crazy, this desire and longing.
[xlix] Active waiting “It is incumbent to await the coming of Mashiach every single day, and all day long… It is not enough to believe in the coming of Mashiach, but each day one must await his coming… Furthermore, it is not enough to await his coming every day, but it is to be in the manner of our prayer ‘we await Your salvation all the day,’ that is, to await and expect it every day, and all day long, literally every moment!” http://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/100903/jewish/Awaiting-Mashiach.htm
[l] “With a ten-stringed harp, with voice and lyre together.
You have gladdened me by Your deeds, O LORD; I shout for joy at Your handiwork.”